Admit The Problem
“Go, proclaim this message toward the north: ‘Return, faithless Israel,’ declares the Lord, ‘I will frown on you no longer, for I am faithful,’ declares the Lord, ‘I will not be angry forever. Only acknowledge your guilt— you have rebelled against the Lord your God, you have scattered your favors to foreign gods under every spreading tree, and have not obeyed me,’ declares the Lord. ”
(Jeremiah 3:12-13 NIV)
Many times when we hear the word “recovery” the first thing that comes to our mind is addictions. Yet, recovery can come in many forms such as recovery from anger, jealousy, fear, pride, depression, anxiety, unforgiveness, etc. Regarding addictions, it’s just a symptom of an underlying problem. When we have an infection in our body, we often see and feel the symptoms such as a pain, a lump, a wound, a fever, etc. If you treat the symptom but not the true cause of the problem…the infection…you won’t be healed. You may seem to be healed for a time, but eventually the symptoms will come back and it may be worse than it was before which can be life threatening. In order to truly heal, the infection must be treated and many times it is something that is covered up, hidden below the surface and unable to be seen. Yet when it flares up, that’s when the pain and other symptoms come.
To be healed spiritually and emotionally the first thing we must do is admit there is a problem. Unfortunately we find this hard to do. We avoid it, skirt around it and even accuse everyone else as having the problem, but never take a look in the mirror. It’s true, others may have treated us badly, abused us, betrayed us and hurt us, but we are responsible for how we treat others and how we treat ourselves. When we hide our pain, we simply put a band-aid on it, covering it up with drugs, alcohol, sex, pornography, etc. We put a mask on in front of others and take it off when we are alone. For some, they never take the mask off and they end up treating others the same way they were treated. They can also go to the other extreme and pretend nothing is wrong all the while harboring anger and hurt within which builds up. What we fail to remember is that when we cover a wound thinking it’s no big deal, yet fail to treat it properly, it eventually begins to grow, smell and become more infected. With some infections, when bad enough, they can cause a person to become angry from the pain and hallucinate, causing us to perceive something is happening when it really isn’t or see something that’s not really there. The infection and fever can attack the mind all because the infection is spreading and has gone on too long. Some infections, however, can act quickly so paying attention to the signs and symptoms that are not normal to us is important.
How does all this apply to us? When we fail to admit we have a problem or that there are things that bother us and continue to stuff it down or ignore it, eventually it turns into an emotional (and spiritual) infection that festers and grows. It can affect us emotionally the same way a physical infection can. It begins to smell, we become angry (fever – hot), and eventually begin to hallucinate (thinking everyone is out to get us when they aren’t or that people are doing things to harm us when they aren’t). The enemy (Satan) is good at orchestrating situations just right and making things appear one way when they really aren’t. Simple illusion. He knows our weaknesses, where we hurt, what angers us, and how to get us to react. Division is one of his greatest strategies. United we stand, divided we fall. God never meant for us to be a divided people, but due to sin in the world, it happens. When we separate ourselves from others, especially God, and we isolate ourselves, this is when we are worked on even more by the enemy. When we are deeply wounded and never allow ourselves to heal, we can see the world and people through dirty lenses. When our glasses are dirty, it may look like something is there when it isn’t or we may not see clearly and have an accident. The same is true spiritually. When our spiritual lenses are dirty, we don’t always see situations clearly and can assume something is going on when it isn’t. Because some have been through so much, fear of it happening again causes a person not to trust anyone. They may have a hard time not knowing what is the truth and what isn’t. So they treat every situation like the others that harmed them. Because of this, they can miss out on what God has in store for them and they can miss out on great relationships with others.
In order to heal, God first wants us to admit our guilt as we see in the beginning scripture. The Israelites continuously turned their back on God to worship other gods and idols. Every time they cried out, God helped them, but eventually they became rebellious and strayed away again. This angered God greatly because He was the One who was there for them, saving them, cleaning them up and providing for them. Yet, time and again, they strayed away. Have you ever experienced this? You treat someone well, helping them out of a bad situation and then they turn back to the person or situation that was harming them. Maybe you are that person who someone tried to help, put their time and effort into you, only to watch you go back to the very person or situation that was causing you harm. The point is, God is not done with you. He wants you back and He wants you healed but it requires admitting your guilt. Admitting you have a problem. It requires being honesty with God and yourself and then being honest with others.
Sadly, we all find it hard in some way to admit we have a problem and to be honest about it. We think God has given up on us and that there’s no hope. We’ve tried to stop, we’ve tried to get better, we’ve tried to walk on the right path but it just never gets better and we end up either in the same situation as before or worse. Guess what? God says different and we can see it in Philippians 1:6:
“being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ“
Once we turn to God and become saved, He begins to work on us. God never stops working in us when we come to Him. He sees our every struggle. There are times He helps us and there are times He may take a step back because we need to struggle and push forward. We don’t become strong physically with no resistance. There has to be resistance in order to gain muscle. The same is true spiritually. However, when we stray away, this isn’t the end of the race. He will help us if we call on Him:
“O Lord my God, I cried out to You, And You healed me.” (Psalm 30:2)
No matter how difficult our addiction or problems may seem, the Lord always hears our cries for help and will always be ready and willing to help us once we turn to Him, admit our sin, and fully wish to repent and change:
“I will return again to My place till they acknowledge their offense. Then they will seek My face; In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.” (Hosea 5:15)
God does everything He can to get our attention, but when we refuse to listen, He may become silent, allowing us to fall and make our own mistakes. He will then wait for us to earnestly seek Him. We must allow Him to help us by turning over every inch of our lives to Him. To turn over just a little bit will not work. It’s all or nothing.
Where are you at right now? Maybe you grew up going to church and seeking God only to have been lured away by life. Maybe you had many difficulties and problems that caused you not to believe God is even real so you went down a different path which led to even worse problems. Maybe you simply never had anyone show you kindness and became a product of your environment, dishing it out just as much as everyone else. Or maybe those you thought cared about you, deserted you in your time of need or betrayed you causing so much anger and hurt within you, you couldn’t control it and now are paying the consequences for it. Or maybe you simply had to learn to survive in your environment, which eventually led you to where you are now. Whatever the case, the most important thing you can do right now if you truly want to be free spiritually and emotionally, is to admit you have a problem. Admit your guilt and your part in it. By being honest with God, yourself, and others, you are breaking the chain that is keeping you spiritually and emotionally tied down. Chains have many links, but if you are chained up and are able to break one link, then you are able to be free.
Turn to God today and be honest with Him. Tell Him about every wound, every hurt, every frustration but most importantly, admit you have a problem, then ask Him to heal you. Fear causes us not to admit we have a problem. It can hold us back from doing the right thing and taking that initial step towards freedom. But remember what the Bible says in 2 Timothy 1:7:
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
Let nothing stop you from all that God has for you. The first step is being honest and admitting you have a problem.
Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.